This MindVention really got started in a big way. There was an Attendees show -- which often is a combination of acute embarrassment for whoever happens to be onstage to "that was AMAZING!" What I mean is that the acts there are either awesome or...well...not so awesome.
This year they were all excellent. Jamie Salinas did a lottery prediction. Picture this: various members of the audience call out numbers between 1 and 50. Appearing STAPLED SHUT in his wallet is a lottery ticket with all SIX random numbers PRINTED on it. Tell me this isn't remarkable.
Harry Berg (forgive me if I spelled this wrong) had a man from the audience select a card from a pack, put the cards back into the pack, close it and toss it back to the stage. He had the volunteer call is wife in NYC and she revealed the card that had been chosen.
Pete Poskiparta passed out five cards with the standard PSI symbols on them with his back turned -- and correctly identified which of the five symbols each person was holding. This was a remarkable effect -- not only because it was so well presented -- but because it really reminded me of how amazing some of these things we do appear to the audience. It was impossible to figure this one out -- unless you know how.
Pete did a 30 minute lecture on doing mentalism in the radio -- which he does under the name of Pete Burnside. I've been thinking a lot about cold reading and techniques for doing mentalism for people you can't see since I read an outstanding book on the subject. The big plus with Poskiparta is his wit. Self effacing...genuinely charming. He made me smile and he made me laugh.
One of the TWO nerve wracking parts of MV came next. (I am always more nervous when Sheree speaks than she is. This was no exception.) She was talking about pendulums, along with the history of pendulums -- and how performers might want to use them. She unveiled a new design "The Nursery Block" which we'll be showing here shortly. We are only issuing 24 of these -- but we still have a few left.
I'm biased, of course, but I really felt she hit a home run. The fact that the goof setting up our projector for her presentation (ie: me) plugged the power into the audio outlet, causing the projector to shut off halfway through her presentation...didn't phase her at all.
(The second nerve-wracking part will be the day after tomorrow when I make my presentation on "The Marketing Minded Mentalist.")
The wonderful Luca Volpe is lecturing tonight and we've been looking forward to this for months. Luca's known for being able to link emotion to his mentalism, which is something I'm very much in favor of -- so I'll be interested to hear what he has to say.
ProMystic always unveils something wonderful at MindVention. I haven't seen this yet -- but it looks like they've come out with a new version of Evolution. I only know what I heard about it. But it sounds like Craig and company are going to be accepting trade-ins of old units for an upgrade to the new Evolution. I'll get to the bottom of this.
Bob Cassidy arrived early this afternoon. He suggested that he take Sheree to Jack's prior to her lecture to set her up for any stress she was feeling. Bob is Bob.
We expect this to be a late night. We're going to the Strip with some friends tonight and then I SUPPOSE I'll have to drop by Jack's afterward.
I love MindVention.
Pete Turned and Luca Volpe performing together.
Guys started arriving yesterday. It's one of my favorite parts of the convention because everything is still going to happen. Here are a couple of mentalist-like predictions:
Someone...probably one of the dealers is going to release something EVERYONE is going to really like
There's going to be at least one lecture that will keep everyone talking late into the night at Jack's Pub -- which is the gathering place for all the attendees.
Richard Osterlind (due in tonight) and Bob Cassidy (due in tomorrow) will get together in the aforementioned pub and sing old songs.
Both guys will be mobbed in a friendly way upon arrival in said pub.
There should be tons of mentalists in the pub tonight -- which means that the guys who are lecturing tomorrow morning MAY have sparse crowds.
Me? I turned down a night out with Paul Prater and company to see Penn and Teller for two reasons:
I can't stand Penn
I still have a lot of work to do on my lecture for Tuesday
These updates get better when things are actually happening. Which will be tomorrow.
Saturday...Later Okay. Most of the guys are here now. And Jack's is in full swing -- at least it was until the band kicked in and it was impossible to hear much more than an overexcited bass and a singer who was quite a bit better than average. (Is that as confusing as it sounds?)
Richard Osterlind and Lisa, were listing to one side, having been up since 4:30 Kentucky time...so our visit was good but short.
In walked Pete Turner, Brandon Queen and Ran Pink and there was this collective shiver. Turner held court at one of the tables and most of the convention goers headed over there and laughed and occasionally applauded. I've never met Turner before...he seems a "decent chap." I was talking first with a guy from Singapore who traveled 24 hours to get here. (Yikes!)
I'm always struck by the diversity of performers here. I talked with a man who knew everyone from Jones to Hoy...then I spoke with a young man who is convinced that the only mentalism that is valid involves NO props. Not ever.
Fascinating place. Fascinating times. More tomorrow.
Monday Okay. I suck as a reporter this year. I have a number of excuses...
Monday was MindVention BLUR day. By this I mean: "A day that started out after being in the pub very late...because most of the folks were in Michael Weber's Lecture and Sheree and I wanted to spend the night with Richard and Lisa Osterlind on the Strip...but wound up going to Walmart to shop for groceries instead and so I went to the pub, got back late and then started the day early."
C'mon...you've gotta give me points for LONGEST excuse anyway.
Monday started with the legendary Charles Gauci...inventor of "302" tricks. He's a statesman of mentalism and he had a certain aura about him. Okay...it was also a tired aura because he'd been up all night correcting a mistake the printer made with his lecture notes. It was really a perfect way to start the day.
After lunch, Sheila Lyon and Mark Sherman lectured on very speedy ways to read palms. They specialize in a "Hands Up" technique where the people hold their palms in the air and get mini readings. The idea: you can go through a lot more hands this way than you can the old fashioned way...and the people would be happier to hear SOMETHING about themselves even if it's very short.
I'm not a reader...so I bow to their much greater experience. I'm not sure how people would respond to a quickie sentence instead of a mini reading...but like I said...they are the experts. Not me.
My buddy Eric Samuels of Vancouver made my Canadian chest swell with pride when he talked about getting keynote work...and incorporating mentalism into it. He''s polished and laid out a very complex question with charm, confidence and a healthy dollop of WOW.
Maybe the most interesting pairing of the show was Luca Volpe and Pete Turner. The event started with Turner doing some...okay...amazing things.. A girl comes onstage....he TELLS her about who she is and then he says her star sign is Taurus. She said nothing except YES. Okay, mentalist...put your mind to work on this. How was that done? The whole thing screamed pre-s*ow to most of us. How about you? We had to wait for the next day for the answer...which I won't be sharing here because it was part of a method shared in a lecture. But think about it, okay?
More later. As I write this, we are just about to to to the last Masters of Mentalism show, which will star Richard Osterlind and Eric Samuels.
Be back soon.
Back...not so soon...
When I say that I am sorry for the infrequent reporting from MV this year, I mean it. At other conventions I simply made time for these updates. You'll just have to take me at my word that this year there simply wasn't time.
I left off on the dual show of Luca and Pete -- which was fascinating as these two performers are as different as summer and winter...wet and dry...squeeky and,...well...not squeeky. Their show was followed by one of the most hotly anticipated lectures of the convention: Richard Osterlind. You may have seen him lecture before. I am not sure anyone has seen him like this before.
He demonstrated the standard things: spoon bending and the Breakthrough Card System.. What was new was the heat of the passion packed behind his defense of not giving the disclaimer that everything in the show isn't real (his rationale: why go to the work of creating a mentalism show and then telling your audience you're not a mentalist?), his very clear feelings about performers who use presh*w or stooges in their performances (ummm...decidedly ''against' because there's such a good chance of getting busted when people talk...and the notion that it's simply not the right way to do things....and his feelings about performers who use electronics to get the job done (also against: feeling that it compromizes "authentic" mentalism).
Speaking of which: I told you that I would look into ProMystic's new releases. There are two of them...a new generation of evolution -- an already excellent utility that features five wallets (resulting in six possible you-know-whats). Apparently these are significantly easier to work with...but the old version isn't bad. The other new thing: a twelve sided die with all twelve zodiac signs. It sells for $1,600.
For me, one of the highlights of the entire convention was seeing the ordinarily-missing-at-conventions Marc Salem. Salem has a combination of dry wit, a curmudgeonly presence and some truly mindblowing mentalism. You may remember that Salem has had a number of hit shows on Broadway -- which has been known to crush many other performers. He's sold out the Sydney Opera House on an extended run. Salem said that it was time to give back to the community. You enjoy the mentalism...but you delight in the quick wit. I loved his show, his presence and his professionalism.
This was the first night in MANY nights when I simply could not bring myself to go to Jack's Pub at the end of the day. I was exhausted and I was giving my lecture the next day...so I was in bed by 10:30. Yes...I spared a thought for you folks...but I was tired and a wee bit stressed about my lecture the next day.
TUESDAY In the morning (at 8:00) I had yet another chance to see Joe Atmore as Dunninger. This is a presentation I've wanted to see for years. But you know something? My first thought upon awakening was "Your lecture is today." So I ran through it a couple of times...Sheree found the season opener of "The Walking Dead" on line and we watched that. It was the first non mentalism moment since Sunday.
There was no way I was missing Marc Salem's lecture though. You know what's tough about writing these updates? I can't share methods with you. But Salem showed several really high impact routines that would have been PERFECT for many of the performers working today. My favorite?
A client reads over a list of possible gifts....ten in total. The client chooses the precise "force" gift -- and the amount of money that was paid for it...listed on a receipt in the bag. LOVE this.
After Salem was done, there was one slender lunch break and then I was up with my presentation "The Marketing Minded Mentalist."" What a rush it was, addressing these people. It was splendid. My lecture notes were also my new book by the same name. it's available here.
The gut buster (as in VERY FUNNY) Q and A took place after my lecture with Bob Cassidy and Richard Osterlind answering pre-written questions from the audience. These are two completely different people -- and they mesh perfectly. Cassidy is irreverent. Osterlind is polite and often surprised by the things Cassidy says.
An example? Cassidy said many performers lie about being banned in casinos.
Richard says he's been banned from two casinos just because he is a mentalist.
Cassidy responds that it's easier to get banned from casinos because you've peed on the carpet in the lobby.
They could take this act on the road.
I was looking forward to Pete Turner's lecture. Why? In his show the previous day he'd performed an effect where he made observations about a volunteer and then told her her star sign. He swore that there was no pre-s*ow. How? I can't tell you...but I CAN say that he felt there were some issues about definitions as to what ''pre-sho*" actually was.
There's no question that Turner's doing something new...and absolutely is the voice of a new movement in mentalism. And that he has very strong supporters...and that he does a very high impact show. He says he comes from one of the toughest neighborhoods in England -- and yet he has a very gentle manner. I will be interested to watch how he evolves as time passes.
After dinner there was one more event: the Masters of Mentalism performance starring Eric Samuels and Richard Osterlind.
There was a smattering of "laypeople" in the front two rows. They always look like a pen of sheep surrounded by ravening wolves to me. This MAY have been the best Masters show ever. Samuels was charming, precise and mind blowing. An example? A woman gets a bill from the audience. It goes into a sealed envelope. The serial number on this bill had been predicted well in advance. Not impressed? The UNDOCTORED numbers on the bill correspond to a number chosen from the Vancouver phone book. Exactly. Not impressed? When the number was dialed it turned out to be Eric's answering machine.
Osterlind did vintage stuff: spoon bending...bank night...a Q and A...and a magazine test, among other things.
Both performers were polished and both kept the audience eating out of the palm of their hands. Delightful.
The dates for MV next year: Oct 18, 19 and 20th. We'll be here. How about you?
Magic Pendulums: Professional Props for Professional Performers